Andonovski: USWNT's youngsters need players like Rapinoe (1:30)

Megan Rapinoe was named to the USWNT roster for the 2022. The first part of the story is over.

There was a lot of familiarity about the United States women's soccer team's win over Haiti in the opening game of the W Championship. Alex Morgan scored a first-half brace, and the Americans worked through some early rust to win their opener at a regional tournament that doubles as World Cup and Olympic qualification for the first time.

The main objective was accomplished in the first step, and it was a professional performance from the U.S.

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Morgan's goals provided a cushion over a talented Haiti team that gave the Americans trouble and asked questions of the United States' rebuild ahead of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Morgan thinks we need to build on this. "Obviously, we got the win, got a few goals in, but at the end of the day, we did give up a penalty, and we had a couple goals that were questionable at best." We can be a bit cleaner. It's a good start and it's a long tournament.

The game went to the break level at 2-2 after a five minute stretch of pressure from Haiti. In the 37th minute, Murphy denied Melchie Dumornay one-on-one, and then he got help from the post on a penalty kick in the 55th minute. Haiti opened up the United States and won individual duels.

The sequence that led to the penalty kick for Haiti was one of those plays.

The U.S. was largely disconnected in central areas due to the fact that the center back was pulled high out of position on those plays.

The U.S. coach didn't know if there was a miscommunication between the centers. The attackers on the other team did a great job. Roselord Borgella and Dumornay are world-class players, and if you give them time, they will expose you.

There was a chance for Haiti to take the lead in the first seven minutes of the game when Louis tried to score on a free kick, but she missed. Haiti ended the first half with a better expected goals figure than the U.S., which showed how tight things were.

It is expected that some of these growing pains will occur. Cook is one of the players that Andonovski wants to put in pressure-filled situations so that they can be ready for the World Cup. It's hard to balance growth with demand for results at a qualification event.

There are concerns about the United States in the center of the park heading into the World Cup in 2023 because of more than one game against Haiti. The captain is 37 years old. Even in her prime, when she was one of the best defenders in the world, she was a cerebral player who read the game as well as any player on the field.

The U.S. put together a record-tying 540-minute shut out streak to win the 2015 World Cup and she was a part of it. As the Americans repeated, Ertz played as the bruiser, ball-winning defensiveMidfielder providing cover in front of the two girls.

The USWNT's 3-0 win on Monday was closer than the scoreline suggests, with Haiti continually able to expose the Americans in central areas. Jaime Lopez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Both Cook and Naomi Girma are more offensive than the more defensive Sauerbrunn. Most of the U.S.' defensive agility is on the flanks with full-backs Emily Fox and Kelley O'hara. Ertz hasn't played since the Olympics and is pregnant with her first child, her playing future is unclear.

Ertz is one of the deep-lying distributors and Andi Sullivan is the preferred No. 6. On Monday, Haiti showed how that system could be exploited. Sullivan struggled defensively to handle Haiti's speed of play in the middle of the park, Cook was pulled high up the field, and that left Sauerbrunn in 1-v-1 battles with players who are half her age. In one play, all of these things were captured.

"Obviously, that's part of the game that I didn't feel like we did well enough," Andonovski said of Haiti's ability to counter- attack. We wanted to create overloads in different areas of the field, so we brought numbers up. You're going to give up superiority somewhere else when you create numerical superiority in any part of the field. I think they were able to expose that area of the field and that's something we're going to have to work on in the next game.

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When Ertz was hurt, the U.S. tried to adapt without her. The personnel combinations were different in the opener of the Olympics last year, but the loss exposed the same issues. The Americans have long been intimidating up the spine of the field and now they are trying to rediscover their identity.

On Monday there were some positives. The decision to start Murphy over Naeher was vindicated by Murphy's huge save. Murphy could give the U.S. more than one goalkeeper with relatively big-game experience for the first time. Adrianna Franch was thrown into her first major game after Naeher was injured in the Olympics semifinals.

Morgan's return to international form answers any questions about the No. 9. Her 15 goals in 17 NWSL games this year should have answered that, but Monday was her first multi- goal game in a U.S. uniform. She scored her first goal on Monday with an outside-of-the-boot flick at the near post.

The margins on this current U.S. roster are not as bad as most people think. The US had to beat Italy in a two-leg playoff to get to the 2010 World Cup in Mexico. The next two editions were won by them.

The U.S. could face strikers from France and Norway at the World Cup. If she asks serious questions of the U.S. defensively, others will be as well.